For me, the best part of traveling is when I chat with the locals. I learn from them what life is like in the town or city. Where do they eat? What shops do they visit? It can be an amazing way to explore a new destination.
Or if you have already visited the area, you can rediscover the region in a new way.
I have been visiting lovely Victoria, British Columbia since I was a child. When I was younger, my father would take me to all the regular tourist destinations.
This time, I wanted to experience the province's capital through the eyes of a Victoria resident. So I asked a few locals what their favourite spots are.
The locals were warm, friendly and eager to share the restaurants, music scene and shops that they frequent.
Cadboro Bay - A family friendly green space, Cadboro-Gyro park is adjacent to the beach. The park is a popular spot with children. It has large concrete climbing structures, in the shape of an octopus, a big salmon, a tugboat and the local Cryptid, the sea monster Cadborosaurus.
Located at Beacon Hill Park and approximately one hectare in size, the Cook Street Playground is located between Cook Street and Nursery Road, across from the Victoria Lawn Bowling Club. The playground provides play and picnic opportunities for everyone.
Ruth and Dean café is a favourite spot for the locals to grab a cup of coffee and relax. They are famous for their cakes, so be sure to arrive with plenty of appetite!
Nourish Kitchen & Café uses natural ingredients to showcase their love of wholesome culinary techniques. A woman I was chatting with suggested this place. She told me it is a café she visits frequently.
Agrius is known to have delicious dishes and also be a part of the Slow Food Movement. This restaurant values local, sustainable and traditional approaches to food cultivation and preparation.
Another favourite is Café Brio. They are an established restaurant in Victoria for 19 years and create Italian inspired rustic west coast dishes.
Fairmont Empress Hotel - This gorgeous accommodation has been hosting guests in Victoria since 1908. They have a world famous high tea which locals and visitors alike frequent. The lobby is warm and welcoming. When I think of the heart of Victoria, my mind always goes to the Fairmont Empress hotel.
Interested in checking out the local music scene? The Sunset Room is a local favourite spot.
For organic healthy foods try Mother Nature's Market & Deli. Delicious wholesome foods you can pack with you for a picnic in the park.
Munro Books listed by National Geographic as the third best bookstore in the world! Founded by Alice Munro, a Canadian short story writer and Nobel Prize winner.
An established fixture in Victoria since 1963, the staff are extremely knowledgeable, there are rows and rows of books on every topic you can imagine, gorgeous architecture and chairs for you to sit while you flip through pages of your favourite books.
Style & Home Decor
Lower Johnson Street - This area is filled with gorgeous unique boutiques. There are also several home decor stores along this street. If you love to fill your home with beautiful items, this is the street for you.
To get some spectacular views and try a different way of traveling to the island. Helijet has transportation from downtown Vancouver to Victoria, daily.
Or another option is to travel by ferry.
Stay tuned for the next installment in my travel blog series!
Your suggestions are always welcome, as I continue on my journey to live life to the fullest. Let's explore some wonderful places and have the very best 2016!
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